RAW refers to a family of raw image formats that are options available on some digital cameras. These formats usually use a lossless or nearly lossless compression, and produce file sizes much smaller than the TIFF formats of full-size processed images from the same cameras. Although there is a standard raw image format, (ISO 12234-2, TIFF/EP), the raw formats used by most cameras are not standardized or documented, and differ among camera manufacturers.
Most camera manufacturers have their own software for decoding or developing their raw file format, but there is also a lot of 3rd party raw file converter software available that accepts the raw format from most cameras including Phase One's Capture One. Some graphic programs and image editors may not accept some or all raw file formats, and some older ones have been effectively orphaned already.
Adobe's Digital Negative (DNG) specification is an attempt at standardizing a raw image format to be used by cameras, or for archival storage of image data converted from undocumented raw image formats, and is used by several niche and minority camera manufacturers including Pentax, Leica, and Samsung. The raw image formats of more than 230 camera models, including those from manufacturers with the largest market shares such as Canon, Nikon, Phase One, Sony, and Olympus, can be converted to DNG. DNG was based on ISO 12234-2, TIFF/EP, and ISO's revision of TIFF/EP is reported to be adding Adobe's modifications and developments made for DNG into profile 2 of the new version of the standard.
As far as videocameras are concerned, ARRI's Arriflex D-20 and D-21 cameras provide raw 3K-resolution sensor data with Bayern pattern as still images (one per frame) in a proprietary format (
.ari file extension). Red Digital Cinema Camera Company, with its Mysterium sensor family of still and video cameras, uses its proprietary raw format called REDCODE (
.R3D extension), which stores still as well as audio+video information in one lossy-compressed file.
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